Farming is cyclical, and when one cycle is finished you are a busy fool if you don’t draw breath and take a break. Tim and I both recognised that we needed a break. The breeding season is coming fast down the tracks, and once that starts a break goes on the long finger. Just like the calving season, it is a full on commitment.

So, “where will we go?” was the question. One of our closest friends was recovering from serious surgery in Beaumont hospital and we wanted to visit him. We decided to go to Dublin. I booked a hotel for two nights, Thursday and Friday, and Tim went to work on organising a few things to do.

Hotel prices are expensive in our capital city. We’d love to go there more often, but other places around the country offer much better value. I believe that Dublin rules itself out of contention with these high prices.

Tim had seen the Van Gogh Immersive Experience advertised, so that was booked for the Friday morning. He booked a nice restaurant and ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ in the Gaiety Theatre for Friday evening. The weather was lovely. I decided I’d have a dress-up weekend, so I took a few dresses and the jackets and footwear required to set off the outfits. I also had some casual clothing. Tim wondered how long I was staying!

Arriving at Beaumont, it seemed only a short time ago that Diarmuid had his kidney transplant. Sometimes hospitals invoke difficult memories. For us, Beaumont was a good story where many years of ill health came to an end for Diarmuid when he received his new kidney. We found our friend recovering well. During Diarmuid’s hospital stay, we discovered a lovely Chinese restaurant a few kilometres away from the hospital, in Donnycarney. We had eaten there a few times. It is called The New Emperor and is really lovely, so we returned there. Another friend joined us and we had a pleasant evening and scrumptious food.

Van Gogh

Friday dawned and we enjoyed our breakfast. The Van Gogh exhibit was in a warehouse in a business park in Artane. Parking was easy and, as we entered, the world of Vincent Van Gogh unfolded in a delightful array of vibrant strong colours. They were almost too loud until you realised that Vincent’s sight was dulled - so the colours he worked with had to be stronger, deeper and brighter for him to see. His love of nature and his melancholy being are alive in his paintings. He loved flowers, crops and fields, the night sky and the ocean. The experience is done through clever lighting, virtual reality and a 360º digital show. You are immersed in the paintings and life of Vincent Van Gogh. It runs until the end of June and is well worth a visit. It is suitable for all the family.

The ambiance in Osteria Lucio, the brain child of Irish chef and restaurateur Ross Lewis and Michelin starred Italian chef Lucianno Tona, was wonderful from start to finish

Osteria Lucio

We decided to walk to the restaurant, Osteria Lucio, on Grand Canal and then onto The Gaiety. That was the end of high heels and dresses! They remained in the car for the whole weekend. The Dockland area of Dublin is now quite beautiful with great street paving and interesting modern buildings with lots of glass running along the riverside.

The ambiance in Osteria Lucio, the brain child of Irish chef and restaurateur Ross Lewis and Michelin starred Italian chef Lucianno Tona, was wonderful from start to finish. Situated under a bridge, the intermittent rumble of the dart trains passing overhead generated a unique atmosphere. The menu was interesting, the food fabulous with layer upon layer of zingy flavours crafted into the most beautiful dishes. The staff engaged readily and discussed the way the food is made and asked our opinion on it. We left well sated and happy.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a story of loss, war, migration, mental health trauma and more. The couple, Nuri and his wife, Afra, flee the war torn Syrian city and try to make their way to the UK. It is difficult viewing and listening, yet it is extremely well done (if quite long). We took a taxi back to the hotel. The driver provided great entertainment.

We enjoyed our few days in Dublin. It was made all the better for meeting our friends and planning some events.

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